Corrections House is the metal collective featuring Mike IX Williams (EyeHateGod), Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), Sanford Parker (Minsk) and their minister of propaganda, Seward Fairbury. Their menacing sound is being hailed for utilizing uncommon metal sounds. Corrections House successfully combines elements of spoken word, electronic production and the saxophone into an eerie narrative. Together, the collective creates an anthem for revolt, chaos and complete anarchy. Their debut album, Last City Zero, will be released in North America on October 29th via Neurot Recordings.
mxdwn was able to talk to Bruce Lamont (saxophone) about the importance of spontaneity, spirituality and their debut album.
Corrections House is a collaborative group of renowned metal heads. How did the idea of forming this super group first come about?
Lamont: The idea came from the powers of beyond, from worlds beyond; the universe kind of through us together. A couple of us collaborated together in the past. Scott (Kelly) and I were playing together. Mike IX (Williams) and I were also collaborating as well. We discussed the idea of doing a collaborative thing, doing a solo tour together. Sanford (Parker) got involved as well. At that point, we figured we should just create a band. We wrote a couple of songs together and put a 7’’ out, Hoax The System. From that point, we decided to hit the road to see how it might go and that’s what we did. Earlier this year we went out for three weeks. It was completely amazing.
Coming from other established bands and projects, did you want Corrections House to have a distinct sound? What kind of sound did the band want to achieve in releasing Last City Zero?
There was no “want” involved. It just became what it became from the four people involved. There was no, “Hey, let’s take this into that direction.” Like I said, we based this stuff off our own solo work. It’s pretty organic in the creative process. It happened naturally and the record proves it. We are happy with what came out.
I found that this album doesn’t draw just from metal rock. I can hear other influences in the album as well.
The album has tons of other influences. Actually, more than any metal influences by any means.
Where did you draw influences while recording Last City Zero?
We drew from each other. We each had our own take of what we were bringing to the table. Sanford (Parker) was working more in the electronic realm and I was utilizing the saxophone more often than not. Scott (Kelly) was playing the guitar and Mike IX (Williams) was utilizing his words as wonderfully as he does and it just kind of became that. There were no pinpoints of influences in recording the album. We fed off each other. Other things like the state of the world, the trees, the environment, decay, and rebirth, those influences are always kind of there.
I know that you are fond of improv. Were you able to improv in any part of the recording process?
Oh yeah – Definitely. Improv was mostly during live performances. I think we like spontaneity. After seeing a lot of shows and working a venue, I learned that element of spontaneity is really important during live performances. It is definitely lacking. You don’t see it so often as you would years past. I got plenty of wide-open space to work out some stuff. It was pretty cool.
The saxophone really creates this eerie sound that resonates through the album. How did you achieve this sound?
Well, I always use effects to a certain degree. I didn’t use a ton on this record. There are a couple of tracks like “Drapes Hung By Jesus,” where I utilized the looper pedal. I was layering horn after horn and played over that. There’s a harmony effect that I used in the album and then there are songs were I play straight saxophone. I do like the effects of the horn. It’s just something I experiment with.
My first introduction to Corrections House was the first single that was released at the beginning of the year, “Hoax the System.” The song is dark and conveys themes of revolt, chaos and complete anarchy. Musically, it does the same with repetitive drums. Is this a continuous theme throughout the album? Were there any messages or concepts that you wanted to explore throughout the album?
Sonically or Lyrically or both?
Sonically, there is a common thread throughout the entire record because of the players. Lyrically, there is a common thread throughout the record because, as stated in the liner notes, all of the lyrics were from or influenced by a book called Cancer as a Social Activity by Mr. Mike IX Williams. When Scott and I wrote something for the album, we had Mike’s writing in mind. When we first got going on this, we were doing mini solo sets and then playing a few Corrections House tunes. From that, Sanford was doing all of the electronic bass music, Scott was doing some of his solo songs and guitar and I was doing some layered saxophone and Mike was doing some spoken word. His spoken word is amazing live. He will blow your mind. Mike’s words meant a lot for this project.
“Hoax the System” was also released with a black and white music video. Will there be any more music videos with the release of the album?
There is actually a second video for the B-side, “Grin with a Purpose,” that has the same characters involved. One of the main guys that have been involved with that was the minister of propaganda, Seward Fairbury. I can’t really go into detail of what he does for our band besides being the mouthpiece for the band. He would usually take these interviews but unfortunately he is in parts unknown. He’s done a handful of interviews for us already and now we don’t know where he went. Seward is the black hooded figure in the videos. He may be completing our third video right now for “Bullets and Graves,” which will debut on October 29th with our record.
I couldn’t help but notice the amazing album art for the album. Is there a story behind the logo for Corrections House?
Our friend Keith drew it for us. We gave him little direction. We wanted something balanced. Something that would have almost an iconic feel to it. Something that would enhance our uniforms we wear while performing. We kind of let him go with it and he got it after the first try. We are very happy [about] the way it came out.
It looks like a mix between the holy cross and the half moon crescent. Is this a reference to religion at all?
None of it has a representation in that regard, particularly with anything spiritually or religious or political. It’s whatever you can take from it. I see a lot of symbols in it that could represent all kinds of crazy stuff. I was actually drawing it yesterday. I was trying to figure out how he drew it out. As I pulled it apart line by line, I started to see more symbols within it. Intentional or not, I am not too sure.
Do you have any early musical influences?
Like when I was a child? It was 1976 and I heard some music from a band and I didn’t know who this band was. There were a lot of bands I remember, but they didn’t have an impact like this particular band. It wasn’t until years later when I got a cassette. It was from a band called Led Zeppelin. It was from Led Zeppelin IV. I recognized “Black Dog,” “Rock & Roll” and “Stairway to Heaven.” I realized that these were the songs from when I was a little kid. Do you mean that kind of influence? Or do you mean the first time I heard Bleach or Ornette Coleman? I’m really staring at a pile of records that have accumulated over the years. I couldn’t tell you if all of them didn’t have some conscious play on why I even create music. I couldn’t pinpoint one to save my life.
The album is out October 29th, released through Neurot. Neurot is also co-owned by Scott Kelly. How has the process been working with Kelly through the label side as well?
It’s been awesome. Actually, Steve Von Till handles the label part more than Scott does but it’s still in the family. We know them very well and are very grateful to be working with them. On the flip side of that, they weren’t able to do the vinyl for this record. Sanford and myself will be releasing the vinyl for Corrections House through our label, War Crime Recordings, which will be released November 26th. War Crime Recordings also put out the Hoax The System 7’’ earlier this year.
I know that everyone is still a part of separate projects as well. Will you be promoting the album and touring as Corrections House for a while?
We are going to work out some new material right away. The record comes out at the end of the month. At the end of November we will be playing Chicago and then flying to Europe for a European tour. We then have scheduled shows on the West coast in January. We are confirmed to play Roadburn for two days. I know that Neurosis has a few shows planned along with EyeHateGod. I have some things as well with Sanford. We will keep ourselves busy with other projects and of course with Corrections House.